Aperture and Embochure Development

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by bartlesd, Sep 17, 2010.

  1. Al Innella

    Al Innella Forte User

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    You do realize you can't control your aperture, your lips should always be touching and the air stream then creates the aperture,you don't change notes by opening and closing your lips ,it's much more than that.
     
    tobylou8 likes this.
  2. Markie

    Markie Forte User

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    Hi Al,
    So let me get this right, The aperture is the site where the sound(buzz) takes place, right?
    And its the aperture that dictates the pitch, right?
    So if a person can't find a way to control their aperture, how is a person to play the trumpet?
    I don't disagree that there's more to playing the trumpet than just strengthening the corners of the mouth, there's a lot more.
    But, discussing ancillary factors that go into playing the trumpet or any instrument for that fact when just a simple recipe will suffice is to be drown in analysis.
    If I'm just learning how to boil pasta, I don't need to know the DNA of semolina. I just need to know then the pasta is done.
    The process of learning how to play the trumpet is like anything else worth attaining.
    "By the inch its a cinch, by the yard its hard".
    If the poster follows the simple recipe, they will be better by Christmas.
     
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2010
  3. Markie

    Markie Forte User

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    Hi Alex C,
    Give us a shout around Christmas and let us know how your playing has advanced.
    Hearing that you are better than before would be a great a Christmas gift.
     
  4. Al Innella

    Al Innella Forte User

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    Levittown , NY
    I still say if think you're playing different registers by consciously opening and closing the aperture of pursed lips you're mistaken . If this is what you do,how much do you open the aperture for a low F# and how much do you close it for notes in the staff or a high C? How do you measure this ,even more puzzling, how do you buzz your lips if they're not touching ?
     
  5. kingtrumpet

    kingtrumpet Utimate User

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    bartlesd,
    welcome back --- you can comeback, as many here have stated. be patient with yourself -- don't let frustration set in -- take the time do the practice.
    (oh - I am not against teachers -- but I must say 35 years ago when I was in school, the smile aperture was taught to me, and they taught that you had to have natural talent to play the trumpet well, and certainly anything above a high C (2 ledgers above the staff) was not real music)
    so 35 yrs later,very little pressure, fatter lips instead of smile aperture, notes higher than that high C, and better than I ever was.
    anyways the Net can help (teachers can too), but I would look up the people that could/can play (Cat Anderson, Doc Severensen, Keith Fiala, Winton Marsalis, Maynard to mention a few of the many).
    and the key is of course -- Practice --- I believe it was Doc Severensen who said, focused, repetetive, and intelligent practice will do more than anything --- so I repeat him in a lot of my posts
     
  6. Alex_C

    Alex_C Piano User

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    May 30, 2010
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    Markie - will do!

    Although I'll have been playing Christmas carols all I can by then, so I'd better sound good by then!
     
  7. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    Markie,
    you should already know the answers to this stuff.............

    Aperature control is chop strength vs air pressure. You CANNOT control it accurately to do what we do while playing. What we do by pressing the lips together is make the muscle DENSER and that changes its resonance. The more we intelligently practice, the smaller that the aperature gets for all range and volumes of playing. More air is turned into sound. Weak chops blow the aperature open and although we can get all of the notes and dynamics, it is far less efficient, causing endurance issues. This doesn't happen by our brain saying "aperature get small", it happens by the chops, breathing, ears and brains developing synergy through intelligent practice of things trumpet.

    In my opinion, the absolute WORST thing that a teacher can do to a player is burden them with the non musical. There are enough etudes and studies to develop the synergy that I mentioned, but no working methods for cognitive control of reflex muscle activity.

    The comeback player needs to start playing easy TUNES first - like in the hymnbook. The second step is to find some experienced LOCAL help to make sure that the start is as qualified as possible. Thinking about the how-tos on trumpet just supplies us with a bunch of excuses why things don't work as fast as WE think that they should!

    The embouchure works by tension (M-bouchure) and breathe control. No need for aperature, tongue level, up- or downstream at the very beginning. No need to try and plan our faces based on the internet knowledge that we cannot judge the quality of.

     
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2010
  8. Markie

    Markie Forte User

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    rowuk sez:
    Aperature control is chop strength vs air pressure. You CANNOT control it accurately to do what we do while playing. What we do by pressing the lips together is make the muscle DENSER and that changes its resonance. The more we intelligently practice, the smaller that the aperature gets for all range and volumes of playing.
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    Hi rowuk,
    As you know, mouthpiece pressure and poor use of air are probably the two biggest issues found on this site.
    If the individual works on reducing mouthpiece pressure by imagining their lips as a "meat pillow" that is not to be smashed, and focus on the corners when they do lip slurs, they will go a long way towards changing the muscle group used to play. They will also make their lip muscles denser. The only way to my knowledge to teach someone who's doing something that "ingratiated wrong" is to isolate (identify) what is wrong and then focus on the right way and monitor it.
    In fact, the only way to NOT fall back into the old way of doing something is concious thought. In time, they will not need to focus as such, but in the beginning, yes.
    Are there a lot of other factors involved and other muscles in play when playing the trumpet? Of course and that's my point with Al. There are too many things that can get in the way of achieving this simple goal. We could discuss Bernoulli, or Farkus, Maggio or Stevens, upstream, downstream ect..
    May I suggest keeping it simple. Isolate what's wrong, replace it with what's right and monitor it.
    If a person learned to play trumpet via the "strong-arm" method, they usually don't have an immediate way of knowing how mouthpiece pressure effects pitch. That is why I show them the effects of mouthpiece pressure by playing the leadpipe and pulling the trumpet into the lips can change the pitch.
    This is immediate and fairly easy to understand for the student.
    As for controlling the aperture, that would be a situation where the arms are (to a certain extent) helping control the size of the aperture,right?
    I don't totally disagree with you when you say "Brain, make the aperture smaller". We do not immediately control it, other factors do. But if these other factors are inappropriatley utilized, then there's a problem.

    By showing how the arm method works and then having the person focus on not smashing the lips and using the corners of the lips to help change the pitch, they begin the road to using the more appropriate method and building denser muscles.
    Yes, playing hymns and etudes are good medicine and can not be argued with if the person's playing is based on good foundation.

    rowuk goes on to say:
    In my opinion, the absolute WORST thing that a teacher can do to a player is burden them with the non musical. There are enough etudes and studies to develop the synergy that I mentioned, but no working methods for cognitive control of reflex muscle activity.
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    While your knowledge base is formitable, in this particular situation I can not agree.
    Yes, playing etudes and songs from a hymnal is great IF the person is using sound techniques.
    You know as well as I that a person can use extreme mouthpiece pressure, use air poorly and sound quite good. There's at least one Maynard clone in every state in the United States that uses extreme mouthpiece pressure to play in the stratosphere.
    However, this short term reward of playing high will reap the detrimental effects in the long run.
    I wish it were true but just being musical will not fix this particular problem.
     
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2010
  9. NickD

    NickD Forte User

    Be sure to budget some soft playing in your practice. All the "aperture control" stuff will become automatic. Most don't think of controlling the aperture, though it is happening.Also, lip aperture is a misnomer. What most folks think of as a "lip aperture" is a little spot where the lips open and close at the frequency of the note being played. There is only an aperture when the lips have popped open. Obviously, the lips must touch together again when they close up. I think of the "lip aperture" on in the context of identifying that spot.

    I do think it is useful to think of Loud = large, soft = small, low = large and high = small. However, this is a general way of thinking. Certainly it does imply that there is a certain "aperture setting (to use the misnomer here)" for a mf high F3, but I just put it there automatically.

    I guess after reading my blather, all would really add is that soft playing is very important to developing good form. As folks have already commented on, this can all be developed in the context of making music, which is much more fun!

    FWIIW coming from me.

    Nick
     

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